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Aestheticism marks Srikantanís concert
Shri R.K. Srikantan’s concert at the Sivagami Petachi Auditorium on the evening of December 1, 2009 was fascinating and vibrant. That he agreed to give a concert on this evening showed the greatness of the grand old man of Carnatic music. The concert was an important constituent of a function to celebrate a milestone in the career of Chitraveena N. Ravikiran. It was organized to honour Ravikiran for completing four decades of service to the cause of Carnatic music in just 42 years.

Veteran Srikantan’s voice was fresh, absorbing and captivating. It glistened as he treated the audience to a true traditional Carnatic music. There was no showmanship. Everything about this seasoned musician was simply grand. He was given vocal support by his son R.S. Ramakantan. Umayalpuram Sivaraman played the mridangam and S. Karthick was on the ghatam. Violin support was given by Sriram Parasuram.

It was a splendid combination. And, the music that flowed was classy. Srikantan defied his age with his breath-taking alapana of Nattai. Dikshitar’s “Varasiddhi Vinayakam” was rendered with poise. His alapana in Pantuvarali demonstrated his complete sway over the matter. He sprinkled it with some nice sancharas, as his voice moved the upper octaves with so much ease. His patanthara and dedication came out in full measure as he rendered Thyagaraja’s “Shiva Shiva Enarada”. Sriram Parasuram followed Srikantan with some appreciative strokes. Srikantan improvised on “Pamarathvamu Edabasi” with swaras, adding beauty to the kriti. Bilahari alap shone with splendour as Srikantan explored easily in his inimitable style. His rendition of “Toli Janmamu” was full of ranjakatvam. His kalpana swaras were simple. Yet, they were majestic.

He and Ramakantan employed sowkyam in kalpana swaras. They were perfectly audible. The tani avarthanam was memorable, as an inspired Umayalpuram Sivaraman employed some difficult strokes, eliciting rich appreciation from Srikantan. Sivaraman said that an occasion like the day’s concert which saw confluence of vidwans made him play to his best abilty. The presence of Srikantan himself on the stage was an invitation enough for Sivaraman. Karthick proved a match to the veteran mridangist. It was a nice experience, as both Srikantan and Sivaraman complemented each other on this evening. A fitting finale to a lovely concert came with a charming Madhyamavathy alapana by Srikantan. Half way through Ramakantan took over and gave a fine alap. “Vinayakuni Valenu Brovave” of Thyagaraja was melodious with catchy lyrics.

Thanks to the disciples of Ravikiran, the audience could enjoy a pristine music.